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Comment Re:Interesting and sobering. (Score 1) 467

As a species, we have already significantly 'damaged' the earth. The 'earth' isn't the issue, the habitability of the planet by people is the issue. We have damaged that more.
The earth doesn't matter, other than as it applies to us (inhabitants, not people from the USA). Unfortunately, we still can't tell if we will all die because we collapsed the plankton, polluted the air, depleted the climate buffers, or whatever our next clever trick is.

Comment Game development is a hard life (Score 4, Insightful) 173

I develop business software. Insurance and banking (mostly banking now), I'd love to develop games. What I don't want is 80-100 hour weeks as standard (pay for 30 hour weeks), competition with every upstart that thinks playing Quake for 20 hours straight makes them leet, companies that go bust and never pay you, a large percentage of projects cancelled, and fighting a perception that you're not doing anything serious with your life because all you do is play games. It just isn't for me.

By all means add more gaming components to the CS courses. Game programming is difficult and challenging and is an excellent excercise. Game physics is unforgiving and requires a good grasp of science. The creative side requires people to develop some very subtle skills. However don't expect your students to all like it or to become game programmers. That'll certainly be one path, but its not for everyone. I'd rather see this as an elective that can be taken early rather than having it forced as some incorporated part of a CS1/2 course. Access to the tools and mentoring on the methods would be useful to those interested in the field.

Comment Re:lol @ 'finally standing up' (Score 1) 453

You're right, it's not illegal to mod your Xbox. It's legal though, to ban modded Xboxes off of Live. They're no longer using the service in good faith. A lot of cheating happens on Xbox Live because of modded consoles.

The lynch pin to the whole case is that functionality was disabled that wasn't made apparent during the update process. I'm guessing Microsoft is going to pull some sort of trade secret argument if this manages to go to court. Xbox is now compromised, so is the creamy DRM filling in the middle from Windows Media Center PCs. I don't think it's necessarily cogent, but, IANAL.

Comment Re:Kevlar (Score 1) 388

Possible uses: line car gas/hydrogen tanks with it. But aside from that and protecting masonry walls from disintegrating in an explosion, I can't see any practical use.

Dude, you just listed two very practical uses for it! ^^

I thing wrapping it around anything that might explode sounds like a good idea.

Comment Re:User perspective (Score 1) 265

You missed the point. The Firefox developers all sang in unison that the memory leaks and instability were the result of plug-ins and publicly refused to admit that Firefox had issues, despite the fact that people were posting bugzilla examples of the problems with no plugins installed. Sometimes it was a corrupt profile issue or something gone awry with an upgrade in which case a total nuke and reinstall usually fixed it.

Comment Re:This comment surprises me (Score 1) 640

Yeah, you are right - Apple popularity on the stock market has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they keep beating the Analysts' expectations for years now, that their growth stays far above Dell's and HP's for years now, nor that they actually bring out new products that have a major impact in their market but also on other industries. None of that.

Comment Mod parent UP (Score 4, Insightful) 439

I don't care that the post is already at +5. Petition CowboyNeal to make it +6, because that is precisely how to get average schmoes to understand how digital restrictions are hurting them.

First of all, I don't acknowledge the term "DRM" or "Digital Rights Management," because that does not describe what it's used for. I call it a more layman-friendly "digital restrictions." The whole concept need to be reframed. When people hear "DRM," they think it's some kind of techno-jargon that they don't understand. Even if they find out what it stands for, they think, "Hey, it's to help me manage something, that's a good thing, right?" They need to understand that its sole purpose is restricting them from doing things with their digital stuff. Even if they choose not to do those things, they need to understand that DRM gives them nothing; its only function is to take away.

I tell people all the time about how unbelievably behind we are because of digital restrictions. "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if we could watch television on our iPhones? Well, there's no technical reason we can't; it's just that digital restrictions are stopping us." "Did you know that it would be trivially simple to write some slick software so that you could store every CD and DVD you own on a hard drive that costs less than $200 so that you could watch or listen to anything you want, anytime you want, without having to fool with the physical media? Well, we could, if it weren't for digital restrictions."

Now and then, I actually show people some of the stuff that I have and that I can do, given my technical know-how to rip DVDs and stream them to my television, load them on my iPhone, etc. When people "ooh" and "ahh" over it and ask me how they can do such things, I tell them, "Well, it's pretty hard right now, you have to really dig around to find the software and jump through a bunch of hoops to do it. Unfortunately, whenever anyone tries to write software to make it easier or publish such software in a legitimate way, they get sued out of existence by the people who don't want you to be able to do this without paying big bucks. (Or in many of cases, who simply don't want you to be able to do this at all.)

Comment Re:It's a trick question (Score 1) 836

My experience of engineers who see programmers such are those who think programming is engineering's easier cousin; less of the brain work and more of a guess/check experience. They do an engineering degree, decide that's too much work, then get a job as a programmer and drive their co-workers nuts with their unjustified superiority complex. It's bad enough that by doing 'introduction to programming for engineers' they think they've become programming geniuses; even more than someone whose entire degree was based on programming. I knew one who insisted that Java was the best programming language in response to me suggesting that I preferred C. I asked him which other languages he'd used, but Java was the only one he knew. Of course, as an engineer he knew better than me. I had one engineer bragging about how high he scored on an online IQ test, and helpfully pointing out that if other people didn't score that high it's not necessarily a bad thing. I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd scored 10 points higher on the same test.

However, that said the arrogance I can easily deal with. It's the horrible code these guys produce that really riles me. Programmers might not follow engineering practices, but that doesn't mean we just hack some random code together without putting any degree of thought into it. But that's what these guys seem to think is acceptable.

Also, a hash is not an acceptable method of sorting a pair. The fact you had to skew your data to use the hash so should have suggested that perhaps there's a better way. Do not use DOM parsing if you're just going to traverse the tree linearly once and then throw the thing away. THINK!!!

I don't believe all engineers are like these. I'm just annoyed.

Comment Re:Robots.txt (Score 0) 549

'Fallacy' is a fairly specific word, that you can't just attach willy nilly to arguments you don't like.

The phrase 'information wants to be free' is not intended to anthropomorphise information; don't read it so literally. It is merely a comment on the way information tends to be exchanged in comparison to physical (and therefore necessarily scare) goods.

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